The Art of Being Present

Last week, I visited my college campus to pick up my diploma (long story, but my original one was damaged in the mail). And, it got me thinking.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my time at Southern. When I was in college all I could think was oh, how I can’t wait to graduate. I pictured my post grad life to be heavenly: I would be working only one job, as opposed to three, where I would be making a decent amount of money. No classes, no online internships, no many part time jobs. And it will be great.

Oh, how I was wrong. For the past few months, all I craved was a chance to go onto my campus and do college all over again. I missed it all. I missed knowing what to do, and what my role as a student was. I miss meeting friends, and hanging out with them. I miss taking classes, believe it or not, especially with those who shared the same passions for English and journalism that I had.

A year ago, if I had told you that I would miss college, then I would have thought that you were off your rocker.

Upon reflecting on this, I realized something. In both instances, I am not present. When I was in college, all I wanted to do was graduate. Now that I am in college, all I want to do is go buy a super expensive textbook. And, while I am wishing that I was somewhere else in time, I am not enjoying the cheap thrills of today.

With that, I am realizing something. I am not happy looking ahead or behind. I am ignoring the simple thrills of today, and am not savoring the sweetness of everyday life.

One of my goals is to be more present. You hear that everywhere — in self help books, or in any article about anxiety. But, what does that mean? 

I don’t know what the Webster definition of it is, but I’ll tell you mine. For me being present consists of enjoying the daily luxuries, such as great lattes, taking advantage of the sun’s rays when it’s nice outside, and cuddle sessions with my dog.

By enjoying the little things and savoring them, I think it’s one of the ingredients in the recipe for happiness. After all, anxiety occurs when you are looking too far ahead into the future, and depression occurs when you are living solely in the past. Therefore, by living in the present, by being present, one can somehow be on the road to happiness.

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